Did you know that rice is the third most grown crop in the world? The only two crops produced more than rice are maize (corn) and sugarcane. Rice farming originated in China thousands of years ago and the practice spread throughout Asia and later the rest of the world. Today the Asian continent dominates rice production with 9 out of 10 top rice producing countries located in Asia. Which ones are they and how much they do produce? Scroll down to find out!
Rice farming originated in China and has since become one of the most if not the most important source of food for its billion plus people. To help meet the country's demand for rice, China has to produce over 200 million tonnes of rice a year. This makes China the largest producer of rice in the world!
India is the world's 2nd largest producer of rice. After rice cultivation spread to the Indian subcontinent, rice became a staple source of food in the region. India is most notable for cultivating Basmati, a type of long and aromatic rice. In fact, India produces over 70% of basmati rice worldwide!
Indonesia is the world's 3rd largest producer of rice. Like many regions that adopted rice farming, rice is a staple food in Indonesia. In fact, the Javanese people of Indonesia love rice so much that they even worship a goddess of rice named Dewi Sri! Temples dedicated to the Dewi Sri, including the Pura Beji, are scattered across the countryside as the goddess is said to protect irrigated rice fields.
Bangladesh is the world's 4th largest producer of rice. Rice farming spread early to the Indian subcontinent, which includes Bangladesh, and this long relationship with rice has made it the country's most important crop. In fact, the Bengali people considers rice an ancient symbol of wealth, success, and good health. The more rice you produce, the more good fortune you're spreading!
Vietnam produces the 5th most rice of any countries. But Vietnam is actually the number 2 largest exporter of rice worldwide (after only Thailand). The Mekong Delta, located at the southern tip of Vietnam, drives most of the country's rice production. No wonder it's called the "Rice Bowl" of the country!
Thailand is the world's 6th largest producer and the largest exporter of rice in the world. They don't make the most rice, but they make the most rice for people outside its borders!
Myanmar (also popularly known as Burma) is 7th on our list of 10 largest rice producing countries. The tropical climate of Myanmar, with tons of rain and sunshine, helps make the country a great place to grow rice.
The Philippines is the world's 8th largest producer of rice. The country helped sponsor the International Rice Research Institute based at the University of the Philippines. Researchers there produced the IR8 variety of rice in 1966, a high yield variety of rice that helped save hundreds of millions of people from starvation during the Green Revolution.
Brazil is the 9th largest producer of rice. And if you haven't noticed yet, Brazil is the only country outside Asia to appear in our list of largest rice producing countries! Rice was first introduced to the Brazilian region in the 1500s, brought there by Portoguese colonists and their African slaves. Today, rice and beans is a common dish in Brazil.
Japan rounds out our list of top 10 rice producing countries. Japan actually bans imported rice and produces almost all of its domestic rice. Japan also heavily subsidizes small, fragmented, and independent rice farmers, a policy that known as the gentan system. This combination of policies has created a situation where the price of rice in Japan is up to two or three times more expensive than in other countries. Yikes!
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Ozy (aka Oscar) is the founder of Henkubao and lives in Los Angeles. During the day he develops websites and web applications. During the night he sleeps. But in his free time he works hard to make Henkubao your goto online space for all things Asian food!